China’s box office is expected to make losses of more than RMB 30 billion ($4.2 billion) this year after a shutdown of cinemas and production because of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s film authority says, reported the South China Morning Post.
Cinemas across China have been closed since late January, when the government confirmed the deadly new virus strain was being transmitted between humans. Wang Xiaohui, vice-minister of the Communist Party’s propaganda department and head of the film administration, said the outbreak had delivered a critical blow to the industry.
“In the short term, the film industry suffered big economic losses as a result of cinemas closing and the halt to movie production and releases,” Wang said during a teleconference with film company representatives and industry officials on Wednesday, according to the state broadcaster’s film channel CCTV-6.
“In the medium to long term, the economic pressure will force the industry to change its patterns, its production and operation,” he said. “The pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis in the film industry and it’s also forcing the industry to reform and upgrade.”